Author: Margery Cuyler
Illustrator: S. D. Schindler
Age Group: 1-5
Synopsis: Poor Skeleton is overcome with the most inconvenient hiccups. Will he ever get rid of them?
The Low Down:
Bug thinks the hiccups are hilarious. Every time he gets them, I’m worried that he will hyperventilate from laughing too hard. That made Skeleton Hiccups perfect for our Halloween this year. I haven’t really introduced him to too many Halloween creatures but we carved a ghost in his pumpkin, have made a few paper bats and spoken about x-rays through a very strange turn of events. I don’t think he completely understands that everyone has a skeleton but that’s ok. We have years for that and enjoyment of the story doesn’t really have anything to do with comprehension of what a skeleton is.
The story is very simple and amusing in a slap-stick sort of way. As poor Skeleton tries to go about his day with the hiccups he drops the soap, dislocates his jaw and arm, messes up his leaf raking and pumpkin carving, and can’t properly play catch with his pal, Ghost. Ghost then encourages Skeleton to try a myriad of remedies. From the typical hold your breath and eat a spoon full of sugar to the lesser known press your hands over your eyes and drink a glass of water upside down (how is that even possible?), Skeleton tries them all. It’s only when Ghost suddenly pulls out a mirror that Skeleton’s hiccups are scared away. Off they go hopping away, looking for some new unsuspecting victim. That part actually creeps me out a bit. Like hiccups are free-moving parasites ready to attack at any moment. Bug doesn’t view it that way, luckily and thinks that hiccups hopping is hilarious. The text was simple and sparse and often interrupted with a “hic, hic, hic.” I haven’t ever thought that’s how hiccups sound but I suppose it’s fairly subjective, much like animal noises.
Without a doubt though the illustrations were our favorite part of the story. Schindler does a fabulous job of incorporating Skeleton’s everyday routines in the pictures and adding dashes of humor. From the bone-polish to the R.I.P. on his headboard, the reader is left with little doubt that Skeleton is truly a Halloween character. He’s not made to be any scarier than a skeleton would be but isn’t really cute at any stage either. However, Schindler makes his obvious distress and annoyance at dealing with these hiccups apparent and therefore transforms Skeleton into a character with whom the reader can relate. We’ve all been there, had the hiccups at inopportune times. I find I like Bug’s take on it. Because it really is hilarious in it’s own way, this uncontrollable urge to make a hiccup noise.
- Be careful that you don’t make too many hiccup noises while reading the story or you may find yourself with an unwanted souvenir.
- Skeleton’s day-to-day activities that have hilarious results on account of the hiccups can be extended into a discussion about cause and effect. What else does his do during the day? How else might the hiccups effect him?
I need more!
Margery Cuyler has a plethora of books to choose from including a new Halloween story called Skeleton for Dinner. If you’d like a look at all of her titles check out her website at: margerycuyler.com.
I have to admit I picked this one up because I really like S. D. Schindler. We have his story How Santa Got His Job and pull it out every year for a fresh take on the jolly old man. His most recent book is Hornbooks and Inkwells, a look at 18th century school houses. More information at: Sdschindlerbook.com
Add to my library:
UK Amazon:Skeleton Hiccups
US Amazon:Skeleton Hiccups